February 1, 2014 at 1:54 pm #137292
Jason – I’m guessing, this being litigious America, that anyone submitting a film to qualify for any awards has to sign something agreeing to let the Academy determine what is eligible and giving up the right to sue. I don’t know this for certain (am going to ask around), but if they don’t, that might be the next step.February 1, 2014 at 1:56 pm #137293
Thanks for the info Scott- I am usually not this bold with my commentary regarding the Academy Awards, but this has sparked a fire within me and I just feel so upset about the whole thing. I hope this works out for the better somehow.
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FYC: Derbyite of the Year, 2017February 1, 2014 at 3:27 pm #137294
Jason – I’m guessing, this being litigious America, that anyone submitting a film to qualify for any awards has to sign something agreeing to let the Academy determine what is eligible and giving up the right to sue. I don’t know this for certain (am going to ask around), but if they don’t, that might be the next step.
That’s not in the rules for submissions. But in any case, what damages can they sue for? You can’t sue because you think you were entitled to a nomination or an award. The people who would have a greater chance at a lawsuit would be the songs that were excluded because of the conflict of interest. They could argue that the Academy’s use of an insider to affect the nominations process created an unfair playing field. And if the song remained nominated, the songs that were nominated and lost could say the same.February 1, 2014 at 3:35 pm #137295
Damages being hard to sue for might be tough to prove. But they might still be able to cause a huge headache for the Academy by suing – people sue for the impact and clearing their name even if they don’t get damages. The depositions and evidence of past similar cases where no action was taken would be huge. The Academy would hate for that to happen even if they prevailed.
I am not sure that just because it isn’t in the rules for submission (which have to do with eligibility and process, not legalese otherwise) precludes that people don’t sign things. If the Academy doesn’t do that, they need new lawyers.February 1, 2014 at 4:08 pm #137296
Some Christian websites are trying to turn this into a cause célèbre. I need a bath now after reading some of the comments on those websites. One commenter wrote that “Hollywood is dominated by Jewish homosexuals.” Seems to me that when you start sounding like a Nazi in your defense of a Christian song or movie, you probably need to stop talking.February 1, 2014 at 4:15 pm #137297
Bringing religion into this whole thing is ridiculous. I don’t agree with their decision to disqualify the song, but there was nothing anti-religious about the decision whatsoever. The film’s subject matter is completely irrelevant here.February 1, 2014 at 4:20 pm #137298
Of course it’s baseless – but it isn’t irrelevant because it is grist for the mill for millions who want to believe it. It’s hard to believe the Academy was so braindead – this was obviously going to be part of the reaction.February 2, 2014 at 3:07 am #137299
Well, the film DID sort of have a target on its back from the moment the nomination came out. Chasing Ice and Paris 36 have obviously been brought up ad nauseam in the discussion, but I never recall any full-scale outrage calling for eligibility investigations from their nominations, the response was more like “Oh, that quirky sound branch.” If you read Guy Lodge’s initial write-up about the film, though he never directly attacks the film’s Christian roots, you can definitely sense an air of a snicker in his prose.
Don’t get me wrong, this was a ridiculous nomination and the decision seems fair based on the evidence, but this was not a very difficult response to predict.February 2, 2014 at 11:32 am #137300
Bruce Broughton is hitting back. The composer, whose title song from Alone Yet Not Alone received an Oscar nom but later was disqualified because of improper campaigning, penned a letter Thursday to Academy Director of Communications Teni Melidonian and CEO Dawn Hudson. And today — hours after the Academy issued its latest statement on the matter — Broughton’s PR guy Ray Costa made it an open letter.
Broughton calls attention to Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs‘ role as a head of CBI Enterprises. As stated in her bio on the Oscars website, which was part of the press release the Academy sent out announcing her election in July, she served as a consultant on films including eventual Best Picture winners The Artist and The King’s Speech.
Safe to say this probably won’t be the last we hear of this.
Here’s the full letter:
I just looked at the Academy release of the rescinding of the nomination and came upon this line in the penultimate paragraph: “Members were asked to watch the clips and then vote in the order of their preference for not more than five nominees in the category.” This isn’t at all accurate.
What the letter that Charlie Fox sent to accompany the DVD actually said was: “When making your voting selections, simply select up to five songs in order of your preference. We hope that you will watch (italics mine) the enclosed DVD and use it to better inform your voting decision.”
Based upon that italicized phrase, I decided to send some emails.
Furthermore, if, as you quote the Academy’s rules, “it is the Academy’s goal to ensure that the Awards competition is conducted in a fair and ethical manner,” and my 70 or so emails constitutes a breach of that standard, why could the current Academy president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, consult on Academy Award nominated projects like The Artist, The King’s Speech and others with a history as an Academy governor that far exceeds mine and at the same time produce the Governors’ Ball without having that look like a breach of the same standard?
I am of course copying Dawn Hudson on this email, and would have included Cheryl if I had had her email address.
Bruce BroughtonFebruary 4, 2014 at 2:44 pm #137301
The religious discrimination seems pretty obvious to me. There have been obscure song nominations for quite some time. Often, it’s because the song is actually pretty good (Chasing Ice, the Horse Whisperer come to mind).
One of the reasons for obscure nominations is probably that the Acaemy sends around a DVD of the eligible songs, so a standout song on that DVD might get a nomination even if no one saw the movie.
I have a unique perspective on this issue for the following reason: when that list of eligible songs came out back in December, I though “why not check out some of these songs no one has heard of?”, I decided ALONE YET NOT ALONE sounded interesting, I looked at the video for the song on YouTube, and I was blown away. I thought it was a fantastic song, very moving, and I loved that it was such a spiritual piece. I thought to myself “if people actually look at their DVDs, this thing’s getting nominated.”
So when the nominations came out, and I saw this song up for the award, I thought “good, they finally got something right.” Then a backlash comes against the song. The part I simply cannot get is the hate for the actual song. I realize that these things are subjective, but it is obvious to me that it is head and shoulders above the other four nominated songs.
Whatever, what happens happens. It is a beautiful song, it deserved the nomination, Broughton’s email is hardly bad enough to get the nomination reversed, and shame on the pirahna-like media culture that attacked the nomination.February 5, 2014 at 12:26 am #137302
Let’s me put this right.
First, I’ve always thought it was pretty strange that the same music branch votes for the Best Original Score and the Best Original Song cathegory. Best Original Score seems like a conservative cathegory but filled with Best Picture nominees and also a modern pop/electronic group sneaks in. The whole Academy (and film critics who unfortunatley knows nothing about film music) always goes with the outsider. It’s pretty sad to listen to Kris Tapley and Anne Thompson saying that there’s nothing outstanding in Philomena or Saving Mr Banks scores. That really means you never took the time to carefully listen to the CD and never payed attention to the music on screen. Fortunately, Academy members did and finally these scores were nominated. Obviously, film critics associations should really consider to keep awarding Best Score because they’ve all nominated (even awarded) 12 years a slave which is a terrible score by Hans Zimmer. He knows that. Why the score was not nominated? Because they sent the Promo CD to the music branch they listened to it and discovered it was terrible. End of the story. There’s no bias agains Zimmer. He was nominated for Inception and Sherlock Holmes, his best efforts in the past few years. At the end, it’s not a terrible cathegory, the five nominees are deserving but the Academy is forgetting the two scores that really stand for the film music fans: Romeo & Julliet by Abel Korzeniowski and The Hobbit: the desolation of Smaug by Howard Shore. But I guess these are not music branch members Bono and The Edge’s cup of tea.
Second, I guess NOBODY votes in this cathegory and it’s only reserved for a bunch of freaks at the music branch that really pay attention to how the song plays on screen. They really do not care if the songwriter or the player is famous (as film critics and HFPA do). And they love Randy Newman all the way. BUT this group of people that votes must be very small. Because many of them really cared about Bruce Broughton, a BELOVED musician at the music branch. Conrad Pope, orchestrator of many John Williams and Alexandre Desplat scores said in his Facebook wall the he was thrilled for Bruce because he’s a “composers composer”. He also received much support from many known composers. He just sent 70 emails and many of them (and I’m sure about this) blindly voted for this song because of Bruce. Don’t listen to the critics and Oscarologists saying that this was a good year for songs. The music branch is shocked year after year because there are no truly great songs among the contenders. They even showed their disrespect to the whole contenders when just Rio and The Muppets were nominated. They are just fed up of listening to BAD songs. ‘Alone Yet not Alone’ in terms of music and lyrics IS NOT a bad song. Is it a great song? Sure not. But not a terrible song like most of the eligible songs. Maybe a few composers voted for it because they thought it was great. But let’s be honest. They took advise from Bruce’s e-mail, listened to the song, thought it was good enough for them and gave it the vote because of their friend Bruce. So at the end it was voting for a good song and giving the credit to a great composer and a friend.
The Academy is right. Bruce took advantage of his position. If he hadn’t sent the mail, his song would have not been nominated. But the problem is on the voters hands. They didn’t take the time to see what this obscure movie was about and trusted on his friend. On the other hand, a lot of people say that how these poeple could have nominate the song if they didn’t even see the movie? Well, I’m sure they didn’t even see Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and nobody cares about that. The problem is that if U2 is a famous group for the media there’s nothing to complain but if Bruce Broughton is famous among the music branch, then how they didn’t see the movie? I’m really divided in this issue and there’s no solution for this. The Academy really have a problem and this will have consequences for everybody. Composers are really angry about the decision to rescinde nomination. Bruce is a God among composers. He did wrong but the Academy is no one to rescinde a nomination because it’s not only Bruce but the all the composers who voted for the song and his friend.February 5, 2014 at 7:04 am #137303
Slant’s very funny take on the Original Song category this year:
Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Original Song
by Eric Henderson on February 3, 2014 in Awards, Film
The AMPAS was already embarrassed enough by the music branch’s lingering cronyism manifesting itself vis-à-vis the out-of-nowhere nomination for the theme song from Alone Yet Not Alone, a movie that somehow achieved eligibility despite playing almost exclusively in heartland venues appointed with pews. The Academy had every right to be mortified by whatever shenanigans allowed into the conversation what is, by all rational reports, an artless, self-righteous, racist remake of The Searchers told from the point of view of John Wayne’s trigger finger. But now that the Board of Governors has rescinded the nomination in an act of reverse-revisionism that forms an apt symmetry with the film itself, the egg on Oscar’s collective face is now also clearly visible in the sights of all those who have set their browsers’ homepages to the Drudge Report. Well, them and composer Bruce Broughton’s wife, who has taken to her almighty Facebook status bar to protest the mistreatment her husband was being forced to endure for allegedly abusing his position among his branch’s executive committee to engage in a little email blast electioneering. So sniped Belinda Broughton, in two separate posts:
“I cannot believe that the Academy just did that to Bruce. Bruce has given hours and hours of his time to the Academy over a period of 30 years, has tirelessly fought for composers, is the only top composer I know who will generously lend out his scores to composers, spends hours having lunches giving advice to up and coming film composers. These poor huge production companies who had their noses put out of joint by a little song. All I can say is, they must have been terrified by the song and it’s one damn good song too. Well, they are happy now, they can play together in the same sand box again. Shame on you Motion Picture Academy for taking the low road, saving your own butts and doing this to one of your former Governors and Head of the Music Branch. Maybe a phone call to Bruce, from one of the Academy Governors of the Music Branch would have been nice too? (Angry wife!)”
“Speaking as Bruce’s wife, the most hurtful and damaging thing about all this is the huge, public defamation of Bruce’s character by those who have brought this on. Forget the Oscar nomination, but do these people understand the emotional damage it causes, those who should know better than to bring someone down in order to cave in to the pressure of big money?”
It’s a classic case of two wrongs inciting the Right, from a branch that lately can’t seem to make up its mind whether to nominate too many songs or too few. There are only two notable benefits to be pulled from this beatific brouhaha. One is the delicious irony that the song clearly primed to walk away with the prize is a scarcely concealed coming-out anthem accompanied by flagrant on-screen witchcraft. The other is that everyone’s focus on the category’s disqualified Jesus is pulling the spotlight away from the slate’s under-qualified one: Bono, whose similarly lazy and earnest “Ordinary Love” won the Golden Globe and whose observably miffed body language undoubtedly cost him Diddy’s vote.
Over the weekend, the Academy issued a statement explaining their position and leaving little hope for those who aim to restore the nomination for “Alone Yet Not Alone” (though already the snub arguably won the battle for a movie that, left to its own devices, would’ve been left behind, not the next Left Behind). Despite Broughton’s attempts to paint himself as the disenfranchised David against Goliaths like, um, Karen O, the AMPAS statement implies one cannot presume that role and simultaneously exploit their position of power. Nevertheless, there appears to be a grassroots effort underfoot from those trained to sniff out secular persecution like Margaret White warned boys would for Carrie’s menstrual blood. If indeed their efforts somehow succeed, we may well have to revise our own prediction in this category, because this evangelical furor seems to have momentarily topped off the tank for a demographic who have never been afraid to claim they’re the oppressed minority and demand special treatment . . . or to stuff a ballot box.
Will Win: “Let It Go,” Frozen
Could Win: “Ordinary Love,” Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Should Win: “He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored/He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword,” Jesus
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